AUDL Playoffs Recap: Empire, Radicals Advance to Championship Weekend

The New York Empire huddle up at their playoff game against the Philadelphia Phoenix in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Photo by Sandy Canetti — UltiPhotos.com

WILDWOOD – The New York Empire completed a season sweep of the Philadelphia Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs, easily defeating Philly 21-13 to advance to the AUDL Championship Weekend in Chicago where they will face the Toronto Rush in the Eastern Division Finals.

Just minutes from the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey, home to the Wildwood Beach Tournament (the world’s largest beach ultimate event), the Empire defense continued to prove itself as one of the league’s best.

New York’s Jack Marsh, facing the Phoenix for the first time, was outstanding, finishing with two goals and five assists to guide the offensive line.

His return allowed coach Tom Gibbons to put Husayn Carnegie and Billy Katz onto the defensive line. Carnegie earned three blocks, including two to stop hail mary scores at the end of the first and second quarters; Katz had two.

Both teams were sloppy with the disc early, due to a combination of nerves and the swirling shore winds. The Empire, though, were able to convert their opportunities and took an early lead that they would never relinquish.

Ken Wells was the star for the Phoenix, coming down with some huge skies in the deep space. He had four goals, three assists, and two blocks. Phoenix star Matt Esser was limited thanks to great defense from the Empire. Although he still made some big plays, he never found a rhythm and only scored twice.

The Phoenix relied heavily on hucks, even if their deep receivers were covered. That made for a lot of turnovers (38) and a lot of Empire breaks.

The game was remarkably similar to their first meeting, with the Empire taking a small early lead, extending it by halftime, and heading into the fourth quarter with a six point lead. In the first matchup, the Phoenix boosted themselves back into the game with a quick 3-0 run to start the fourth. This time, however, the Empire were focused and scored three straight instead to seal the victory.

The Empire will face the undefeated Toronto Rush on Saturday in Chicago.

***

Despite playing without a number of key starters and giving up a 3-0 run to start the game, the Madison Radicals defeated the Indianapolis Alleycats 18-15 to advance to the Midwestern Division Finals against the Windy City Wildfire.

The Radicals got off to a slow start and were trailing 4-1, but used suffocating defense to propel themselves on a 6-0 run to permanently take the lead. Tyler Glenn led the defense with five blocks and helped the Radicals to sweep the Alleycats in 2013.

Madison played better in the swirling wind at home and weathered a seven-turnover night from Dave Wiseman.

The Alleycats’ stars Keenan Plew and Cameron Brock failed to have a significant impact, tallying three and four points, respectively.

After falling behind 7-4, the Alleycats closed the gap to one at 10-9, but were never able to tie the game. Madison went on a 3-0 run and then the teams traded out to the 18-15 finish.

Madison was playing without its strong younger players including Brian Hart and Kevin Brown, who were away for the U23 World Championships. They were also missing David Shleicher (injury) and Pat Shriwise (at a wedding).

The Radicals will face off against the Windy City Wildfire on Saturday in Chicago.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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